Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab): Will the Secretary of State guarantee that the contracts negotiated can be renegotiated in 2016 without unreasonable cost by a future Government who may be more enlightened and take the view that Trident is little more than an impractical vanity and virility symbol?
Mr Hammond: Of course I completely reject the last part of the hon. Gentleman’s question. The investment at the Rolls-Royce plant is an 11-year programme, so the money will be spent over 11 years. In being prepared to undertake this major programme, Rolls-Royce will require a commitment from the Government—its customer—and we will make that commitment at the level at which we have to do so to protect the UK’s sovereign capability.
We lost 179 of our brave soldiers in pursuit of non-existent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We have lost 419 soldiers protecting the United Kingdom from a non-existent Taliban terrorist threat. Are we to expose more British lives to defend ourselves from non-existent long-range Iranian missiles carrying non-existent Iranian nuclear weapons?
The hon. Gentleman must not fall victim to Iranian propaganda about that, and of course we could also differ about some of the premises of his question, including the terrorist threats that have emanated from Afghanistan. I hope he will support the fact that the whole of our effort is going into finding a peaceful diplomatic solution. That is what the twin-track approach of sanctions and negotiations is about. One hundred per cent of our effort is dedicated to a diplomatic solution to the problem.
As a greater number of American veterans of the Afghan war commit suicide than die in combat, and as uncounted thousands of our own troops return, broken in body and mind, should we not follow the example of Canada, Holland, France and Australia and bring our troops home at an earlier date than planned?
It is also important to remember the immense achievements of our troops in Afghanistan, who have helped to bring stability to areas of Afghanistan that would not otherwise have known it, and who have done so much to reduce the terrorism threat to this country and many others, and it is very important for that job to be completed, as we intend it to be, by the end of 2014. It is important to remember the achievements of our troops, and not just the problems that they encounter.